NEW YORK — The Finish Line will announce today that it has hired Ernest Brown, a longtime Parisian merchant, as vice-president and GMM of its Man Alive streetwear division. Brown is charged with all men’s and women’s apparel and accessories lines, and will report to Man Alive’s president Lou Spagna.
Before to joining Man Alive, Brown spent more than 25 years at Parisian, a Saks Inc. retail division that was acquired by Belk three years ago. He had served as GMM of men’s, children’s and cosmetics at Parisian since 1994, and held other men’s merchandising positions at the retailer before that.
“Bringing in a high-caliber merchant, with vast experience, really helps Man Alive’s merchandising division,” said Spagna, in an interview with DNR. “Ernie’s hit the ground running. He understands how to buy merchandise with a visual vision in mind.”
Brown joins Spagna—himself a relatively new Man Alive hire—in attempting to turn around the flagging streetwear concept. Man Alive’s comparable-store sales declined by 14.2 percent in the fourth quarter, and executives acknowledged on a conference call that the loss at the chain “grew pretty significantly this past year.”
However, management noted that the new team is “making a significant adjustment,” and expects the concept to show improvements by the end of this year.